LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It took 67 years, but one local family now has the closure that they’ve always hoped for.
“That’s when the reality set in is when his remains arrived." says Joy Jones Wilson, sister of Corporal Edward Milton Jones. She said she’s waited a lifetime for this one moment.
She, her sister, and distant family members, along with complete strangers, all gathered under one roof on Nov. 9 to finally pay respects to a man that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Edward Milton Jones of Lake Charles, Louisiana passed away on Friday, Mar. 16, 1951 at the age of 20. Milton was a native of Lake Charles who proudly enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve the country he loved. Corporal Jones was a member of the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was seriously wounded and taken as a POW in South Korea on Feb. 12, 1951. He died as a prisoner on Mar. 16, 1951.
“To think about that particular war, it’s considered the “Forgotten War”. And if you imagine, 67 years that we’re now welcoming this soldier home," said Fort Polk Army Chaplain, Carl Brown.
Jones' body never made it back to American soil until now.
For Joy, Sep. 19th will be a day she’ll never forget—it’s the day she got the call.
“This voice said to me, ‘good morning Joy, how are you?’ I’d already looked at my phone and it said Fort Knox, Kentucky. I knew it had to do with the Army,” she said.
Though only 10 years old when her brother died she still recalls the day when they learned he was missing.
“I remember the night we got the message that he was declared missing in action,” said Joy. “All I remember as a 10-year-old is what it did to my parents. It changed their lives forever.”
Now buried with full military honors, Edward is not only a hero to his family, but his country.
“To honor one of our own and to bring closure to his family, but also to celebrate his life,” said Army Chaplain, Carl Brown.
“This is happening to other families in this country, but over the years from watching the news, I’ve always seen it happen to people in other places. This doesn’t happen to us, but it did,” said Joy.
Roughly 8,000 soldiers are still listed as missing from the Korean War and more than 5,000 remains are believed to still be in North Korea.